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Children's understanding of anticipatory regret and disappointment

Guttentag, Robert; Ferrell, Jennifer


Robert Guttentag


The anticipation of regret and disappointment plays an important role in decision making by adults. The anticipation of regret may also lead to a desire to avoid feedback about likely outcomes of non-chosen courses of action, while the anticipation of disappointment is associated with avoidance of risk-taking and the deliberate dampening of expectations. The present study used the context of a simple game to examine children's understanding of these anticipatory regret and disappointment emotion-regulation strategies. It was found that even though children 7/8 years of age were able to understand the situational factors that produce disappointment and regret, it was not until 9/10 years of age that children exhibited an understanding of anticipatory regret emotion-regulation strategies, and even at this age children did not exhibit an understanding of the use of dampening of expectations as a strategy for coping with the anticipation of disappointment.


Guttentag, R., & Ferrell, J. (2008). Children's understanding of anticipatory regret and disappointment. Cognition and Emotion, 22(5), 815-832.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 21, 2008
Journal Cognition and Emotion
Print ISSN 0269-9931
Electronic ISSN 1464-0600
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 5
Pages 815-832
Public URL
Publisher URL